Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2012 Reading List

I'm not sure why it's taken me three weeks into the year to get my 2012 Reading List posted, given that I compile it on an ongoing basis throughout the year, but I suppose I was hoping I'd get around to posting individuals responses to a few more of the titles. I haven't done as well in that regard this past year, and I've been beating myself up a bit about it, but I'm going to have to accept my limitations.

So here is the list without further commentary other than to see that the links will take you a post which offers some kind of response to the book. Sometimes, this will be an entire post, but rarely will it be an extended review. I've simply tried to capture part of my response to some element of the work that I was struck by.
In other cases, I've grouped a few titles together, writing a sentence or two about each. Failure to comment is no reflection on how much I liked the book -- I loved Alison Moore's The Lighthouse, but read it at the end of the year and found no time between marking and Christmas activities to write a post. Similarly, I'd highly recommend Tana French's Broken Harbour if you love well-written mysteries that evoke place (Dublin).

If I had to pick 5 to recommend? Hmmm,  You shouldn't miss DeWaal's The Hare with Amber Eyes if you haven't read it yet. Loved Craig Taylor's The Londoner, any of the Athill, but especially Instead of a Letter, all of Canada is talking about Wagamese's Indian Horse (I was an early dissenter as you'll see if you click on the link, but it's still well worth reading). Loved #65, Richardson's Emperor of Paris. . . .
No, I could easily add another 3 I'd pick as well: #40, Toni Morrison's Home; #46 Hilary Mantel's Bringing Up the Bodies. . . .

Yikes, the titles clamour, reminding me of what I liked about each one. So hard to pick favourites, and I haven't even considered any of the mysteries which, let's face it give me considerable pleasure and constitute a significant chunk of the list. But if I ponder any more, this list will never get posted and it's time to get on with 2013. So here it is:

1. Amitav Ghosh, River of Smoke.
2. Editor, Trevor Carolan. Making Waves: Reading BC and Pacific Northwest Literature.
3. Val McDermid. Trick of the Dark.
4. Timothy Taylor. Story House (re-read for teaching)
5. Michael Ondaatje. The Cat's Table
6. Diana Athill. Instead of a Book
7. Daphne Marlatt. The Given
8. Lee Child. The Affair
9. Kathleen Winter. Annabel (Re-read for teaching)
10. Douglas Gibson. Stories About Storytellers
11. Amy Finley. How to Eat a Small Country.
12. Méira Cook. A Walker in the City (poetry)
13. S.J. Watson. Avant d'Aller Dormir. Traduit par Sophie Aslanides
14. Dionne Brand. What We All Long For. (Reread for teaching)
15. Craig Taylor's The Londoners
16. Lawrence Hill. Some Great Thing (Reread for teaching)
17. Adam Gopnik, Winter
18. Maureen Medved, The Tracey Fragments
19. Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse
20. Brian Moore, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne
21. Jack Hodgins, The Master of Happy Endings
22. Patricia Cornwell, Red Mist.
23. Edmund DeWaal, The Hare With Amber Eyes.
24. Gail Scott. My Paris
25. Francine Ruel. Maudit que le Bonheur Coûte cher
26. Val McDermid. The Retribution.
27.  Haruki Murakami. Kafka on the Shore.
28. George R.R. Martin Clash of Kings
29. Elizabeth George. Behind the Lies.
30. Marcel Mauss. The Gift (reread for a research project)
31. Cheryl Strayed. Wild
32. Diana Fitzgerald Bryden. Clinic Day (poetry)
33. Dennis Lee. Civil Elegies (poetry)
34. Jacques Derrida. The Gift of Death.
35. Eloisa James. Paris in Love.
36. Nancy Huston. Infrared.
37. Giles Blunt. Crime Machine.
38. Mark Doty. Still Life with Oysters and Lemons.
39. J.J. Lee The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit
40. Toni Morrison. Home
41. William Gibson. Pattern Recognition
42. Antonia Fraser. Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter
43. Joanna Trollope. Daughters-in-Law
44. Don McKay. From Here to Infinity (Or so)
45. Deborah Harkness. Shadow of Night
46. Hilary Mantel. Bringing Up the Bodies
47. Jeffrey Deaver, XO: A Kathryn Dance Novel.
48. Dai Sijie, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
49. Charles Dickens. The Old Curiosity Shop
50. Susan Vreeland. The Passion of Artemisia.
51. John Baxter. The Most Beautiful Walk in the World
52. Alan Jacob. The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction.
53. Gillian Flynn. Gone Girl.
54. Gary Snyder. The Practice of Wild.
55. Ami McKay. The Birth House.
56. Margaret Edson. Wit. (for teaching)
57. Vincent Lam. Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures (reread for teaching)
58. Carol O'Connell The Chalk Girl
59. Eve Stachniak. The Winter Palace
60. Susan Hill. The Betrayal of Trust.
61. Patricia von Tighem. The Bear`s Embrace (reread for teaching)
62. Kim Stafford. The Muses Among Us.
63. Kati Morton. Paris: A Love Story.
64. Dennis Lee. Testament. (poetry)
65. C.S. Richardson. The Emperor of Paris
66. Lee Child. A Wanted Man.
67. Diana Athill. Instead of a Letter.
68. Pierre Bayard. How to Talk about Books You Haven't Read
69. Edeet Ravel. The Cat
70. Alison Moore. The Lighthouse
71. Tana French. Broken Harbour
72. Anne Zimmerman. An Extravagant Hunger
73. Ian Rankin. Standing in Another Man's Grave.


  1. Want to have a look at that "An Extravagant Hunger"

  2. Several books you have read are on my ever-growing list. 2012 was not a good reading year for me as there was little memorable reading and I miss it. 2013 is already looking more promising. I hope to keep up better as well.

  3. Haddock, I think you'd enjoy it if you're interested in food and/or France. . . .
    Mardel, there are so many reasons to read and so many different types of books -- if 2012 was a year for escapist reading, how wonderful that it was there for you. You've done enough of the more serious reading over the years!

  4. There's a lot on your list that I haven't read but really want to read. Most notably Bringing Up the Bodies.

  5. Ryan, have you read Wolf Hall? Bringing Up the Bodies is a very satisfying follow up to that, and I'm looking forward to the last in Mantel's projected trilogy